Saturday, September 15, 2018

Pogácsa from Milk - The Transylvanian Cookbook

It is time to pick a recipe from the Transylvanian Prince's Cookbook!

This is the digital translation of a book in Hungarian that I have tried recipes from before.  Here is the book reference:

The Prince of Transylvania’s court cookbook 

From the 16th century 


You can find a copy of it here:

The recipes I have tried are here:  Prince of Transylvania's court cookbook

Today I picked recipe number 804, found on page 154.

Pogácsa from milk. 

Pour milk onto the pan, don’t let it boil all the way, put flour into a plate; once the milk is hot, pour it onto a plate, mix it well, don’t add too much, the dough should be dense and big; whip some eggs into a pot afterwards, add salt and pour it onto it, then whip it again; have lots of eggs so that the pogachas will grow and swell. Afterwards, cut these while the dough is warm; don’t add too much milk, there should be more eggs than milk. The butter shouldn’t be too hot, else the upper part could come down. 

Obviously I needed to do some interpreting on this!  I looked at a variety of modern pogacha recipes, but they all used yeast and this one does not mention it.  So I started looking at modern bread recipes that don't use yeast, and cobbled together a basic strategy for making this bread.

My primary guide was from the glossary of the Prince's book (the 7th page of the PDF, not a numbered page in the book):
Pogácsa: a small short cylindrical baked good, similar to the American biscuit (the rolled and cut version as opposed to the drop variety), often with flaky layers.
My Redaction

6 cups flour (I used about half bread flour and half all-purpose), divided into 3 cups/3 cups
1 cup milk
6 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
about 3 tablespoons butter, melted

This attempt was rather hit-and-miss, "give it a try and see what happens."  In reality, it was quite fun to test my skills and senses.  I decided that the butter is not mixed into the dough but brushed over the top of each biscuit before baking.

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

2.  Heat the milk in the microwave until quite warm but not boiling.  I did 1/2 cup increments, each heated for 30 seconds on full power.

3.  Add the milk to 3 cups flour.  Mix, first by hand and then with the mixer, until it is lumpy and moist.

4.  Beat the eggs in a bowl, add the salt, then pour the whole mixture into the bowl with the flour and milk.  Stir by hand for a while then let the mixer stir it.  It will break up the lumps and become very wet.

5.  Mix in the rest of the flour, 1/2 cup at a time so it mixes in and doesn't fly all over the kitchen.  I stopped mixing when the dough was sticking to itself more than the bowl.

6.  Put a dusting of flour on your work surface and also dust the dough and your hands.  Put the dough on the surface and pat it into a mass that is uniformly thick, about 3/4 to 1 inch.  That is the depth of my small biscuit cutter.

7.  Cut out pogachas and place them on a greased baking sheet.  I reshaped the remaining dough as needed until the sheet had enough pogachas on it.

8.  Brush melted butter over the top of each pogacha.

9.  Bake for 20 - 25 minutes, until the bottom is light brown and there might be some coloring on the tops or sides.  I tried one at 15 minutes but it was still doughy-moist on the inside.

This recipe made about 3 dozen pogachas.

The Verdict

They puffed up slightly and did not spread much.  They were a little crispy on the outside.  Inside they were denser than yeasted bread but I was surprised that they were not as dense as I thought they might be -- I worried about making small rocks.  The crumb was finely textured and there were a few air bubbles inside.

Right piece is upside down to show the bottom
The flavor was bland.  I think they needed more salt.  One guest taster thought they were too salty and two guests thought the salt content was about right.  But overall, the flavor was acceptable for a bread that would accompany a stew or soup -- I think it would be very good at sopping up juices or gravy without competing for flavor attention.  I tried them plain, with butter, and with butter and jelly.  All were good, just not exciting.  Even completely cool, where they were a little harder and the crust crunchier, they were fine.

When warmed up in the microwave the next day, with a moist towel, they were surprisingly good.

Success!  I would try these again some time, but I would play with the mixing procedure to see if I could make them lighter. 

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Kazakh Food from a Guest Cook!

My friend GW is a marvelous cook who also happens to be from Kazakhstan. I have eaten her cooking several times and wished I could capture her recipes for my blog.  It finally happened!  Not only that but she let me help with the preparation and it turned into a fun, social time that represented exactly what good cooking is.

She chose two dishes.  The first was a bread popular in Kazakhstan, which we just called "Kazakh Bread."  It is a slightly leavened bread that is stuffed with an onion, herb, and cheese mixture.  The other was a steamed dumpling called Manti.

GW is experienced and knows her recipes by sight and by touch.  She does not measure, and I did not ask her to.  My notes list her ingredients and my description of her methods.  Come, join us in our cooking adventure!

Kazakh Bread

GW made the dough ahead of time and she used these ingredients:

sour cream
a little milk and water
baking powder

She said she mixed the dough then let it rest for a while.  She cut it into pieces and shaped them into rounds.  Each round was rolled out until it was thin.  She used flour to dust the pieces when she needed to, so they wouldn't stick.

Then she put on a spoonful of filling, which was a mixture of

herbs (this time she used basil, parsley, and cilantro), chopped
garlic, pressed
green onion, chopped
hard cheese (she used mozzarella), chopped
1 egg

She folded the dough around the filling to make a round.  This is the stage where most of them were at when I arrived.  They were resting, lightly covered, waiting for the final step.


Rolled and ready to fry
When she was ready to cook them, she heated some oil in a frying pan.  Each stuffed round was rolled out fairly thin, so you could see the filling through the dough, but it was still mostly enclosed.  Then she put the bread into the oil and fried it until golden brown on one side.  It was flipped and fried on the other side.

The finished rounds, 5 to 6 inches in diameter were stacked on a plate.  They stayed warm for quite a while!


GW put us to work preparing the main part of the filling, which was

beef, trimmed and chopped into small pieces
pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled and grated
onion, grated

while she prepared the dough:

salt, dissolved in the water
egg, beaten into the water

She mixed the dough by hand, adjusting the flour and water amounts until the dough was sticking to itself and cleaned the sides of the bowl.  It was a soft dough and not very sticky.  She let it rest, covered for about 10 minutes.  Then she kneaded it until smooth.

The dough was cut into four pieces, kneaded some more, and shaped into balls.

Then each ball was cut in half, and the halves rolled into a log shape.  The log was cut into pieces about the size of a large walnut.  I noticed she would make a cut, then roll the log a quarter turn before cutting the next piece.  Each piece was shaped into about 2 inch diameter rounds.  She used flour to dust the dough as needed to avoid sticking.

You can see the balls, the logs, and the pieces (foreground to background)
GW finished off the filling by mixing the beef, squash, and onion, then adding some


She commented that if the mixture was to sit while the dough was being prepared, you should wait to add the salt until just before you are ready to use it, or the filling gets watery.

The rounds were rolled thin, about 3 to 4 inches in diameter, to prepare it for the filling.  She showed us how to fill them:  turn the round so the floured side was down, put in a generous spoonful of filling, then pinch the edges together in a specific pattern.  Then she put everyone to work making the dumplings while she rolled the thin rounds.  Great fun!

Here is the pinching pattern for the manti:  fold opposite sides up and over the filling, and pinch them at the top, in the middle.  Now the shape is roughly a rectangle, so go to the narrow sides and lift them up to form walls around the filling.  Pinch the corners together (four corners, four pinches) to keep the sides up.  GW said it was good to leave some of the filling showing so air could get out.  At this point you have two choices.  You can either bring up opposite corners over the middle and pinch them all together (one pair of corners is one pinch, then bring the other pair up and pinch again).  This forms an enclosed ball that has a pretty gathering of dough at the top.

The first fold.  A finished manti is towards the back.

This is the Kazakh bread but the folding pattern starts off the same:  this is pinching the corners
The other choice is to bring two corners on the long rectangle side together, on the side of the manti, and pinch them.  Then repeat with the other two corners.  This makes a flatter top but, I think, a more visually interesting pattern of dough and a little filling.  I made sure I tried both patterns many times.

The front one is the second choice of pinching, the back one is the first choice
Once the manti were filled, she poured some oil on a little plate.  One dumpling had its bottom dipped in the oil, then another dumpling was rubbed against it.  This had both mantis oiled on the bottom.  When they were placed in the steamer, the oil kept them from sticking to the tray.

The manti were steamed for 40 minutes.  When they were placed on a serving tray, GW put a little butter on the top.  They were served, Kazakh style, with sauces.  I was told many sauces are appropriate; here in the US we had tomato salsa and a pineapple-habanero sauce.

Buttering the manti
The Verdict

What can I say other than these were wonderful!  I tried one manti with no sauce and was astonished at the depth of flavor it presented.  Remember, the filling was meat, veggies, salt, and pepper.  The taste was rich, slightly meaty, a little juicy, and I would swear there were more spices in it, although I knew better.  The dough around it was tender but not soggy.  It held the filling well, without breaking.  You could eat the manti by using a fork or by holding it with your fingers (once it cooled down!).

Heavenly, moist, flavorful
Of the two sauces, I liked the pineapple-habanero sauce on the manti best.  There was something about the sweet with spicy that complemented the manti flavors well.  I noticed the people who are not sweet eaters preferred the salsa.

I was given some manti to take home and when I served them, I put out a mango-ginger chutney that had a little cayenne pepper kick to it, and that also went well.

The Kazakh bread was also quite good.  Frying it resulted in a fairly dense bread texture, but it was not oily or hard.  The herbs and green onion flavors added a lovely lightness to the bread flavor, making the whole eating experience a fun blend of chewy, herbal, and rich.  I couldn't taste the cheese but I suspect it contributed to the rich mouthfeel of it all.

It was a success for all who participated and I thank GW profusely for sharing her expertise and food with me.  Kazakh food is good!

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Peach Salad from the Transylvanian cookbook -- Historical Upgrade

In the previous post I tried the peach salad from this cookbook:

The Prince of Transylvania’s court cookbook 
From the 16th century 

You can read about it here.

Afterwards I felt strongly that this would make a great dessert, so I gave it a try!

I followed the recipe closely and then made these changes:

     I added an Irish cheddar that had been aged two years.

     The peach slices were cut in advance, so I dipped each slice in the wine.  The idea was to resist

     I drizzled the wine/jam mixture over the peach slices.

     I put in more almonds.

     I left out the peach pit.

The quantities were about the same as when I made it the first time, except there were more bread slices.  I used one peach, which weighed about 1/2 pound.  That is what fit well on the platter.

This was dessert for four people, so I pulled out my white platter and arranged the salad as decoratively as I could.  Each person had a plate and a fork, so they could take what they wanted from the platter.  We used our fingers for the bread and cheese, and the fork for the peach slices.

The Verdict

The colors were beautiful!

Cheddar cheese was the right pairing with the fruit, jam, and wine flavors.  I was particularly happy the aged cheddar had that crystalline crunch I love so much.

It was easy to put together, the dipping-in-wine technique worked well for the peach slices, the presentation was dramatic, and the flavors were excellent.

I felt it was the right amount for a dessert for four people after a comfortable and not heavy meal, especially because it was a spicy meal.

It was well-received by all who tried it.  Success!!!!!

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

A Peach Salad -- from the Transylvanian cookbook

My friend G offers an English translation of a 16th century cookbook from Transylvania, found here:

The Prince of Transylvania’s court cookbook 
From the 16th century 

I am enjoying exploring this book and, considering lovely peaches are in season, today I decided to make recipe number 806 on page 155: 

(806) Salad from peach. 

Peel some peaches, slice the seeds into one so they will get stuck together next to each other, there should be one seed next to each peach, they sometimes add peeled almonds or walnuts instead; put these into one plate, add some raisins and bread roll pieces dipped into wine and jam. 

This took some thinking:  How should the sliced peach look on the plate along with the seed or nuts?  What kind of raisins?  What kind of bread rolls?  What flavor jam?  And what exactly do they mean by "dipped into wine and jam"? 

My longest thinking time went into the idea of the bread dipped into wine and jam.  Should the bread be toasted or slightly dried?  Do I dip it into the wine first and then dip it into the jam?  Or are some pieces dipped in wine and others in jam? 

My decisions culminated in this redaction:

2 medium or one large peach (mine was about 1/2 pound)
2 tablespoons golden raisins
2 tablespoons raspberry jam or fruit spread
1-2 tablespoons quality white wine (to taste)
6 - 1/2 inch wide slices of a baguette that is about 1 to 2 inches in diameter
Optional:  several almonds or walnuts, shelled

Preparation for two: 

Mix the jam and the wine together in a small bowl.  The result should be thinner than the jam that came out of the jar, but not too thin.  

Slice the peach into wedges.  I didn't peel the peach because I like the peel.  Thin wedges are better than thick ones as they lie better on the plate.  

Arrange the slices decoratively on the plates.  I used 1/2 peach per person.  For one half I left a slice attached to the pit, and on the other I placed several almonds to play the part of the pit.

Sprinkle the raisins over the peach slices, half per plate.  

Dip the bread slices into the jam-wine mixture.  I didn't cover them because I wanted the red-white contrast on the plate.  Place the bread on the plates neatly by the peach slices, three slices per plate.

Serve immediately.

My Notes

The listed quantities are estimations, so change it around as you like.

I stirred the wine and jam well, so that the jam chunks broke down.

The Verdict

I served it with grilled chicken and grilled corn, as a salad course before the rest of the food.

This one has the pit.
The slices were spread in an arc on the plate and the bread tucked into the plate to finish the arc. 

I liked the visual effect of the orange peach flesh with red edges against the white bread with the red wine/jam mixture.  I wondered if the raisins were going to make it too sweet. 

As it turned out, the raisins were a wonderful complement to the peach:  I ate a piece of peach with a raisin or two with it, and the flavor was of peach with a surprising, almost spicy flavor from the raisins.  The bread with the wine/jam mixture was excellent by itself, but when I took a bite of it and followed it with a bite of peach, I got a complex flavor burst of sweet and tart, with floral hints.  The bread was chewy enough to make eating the whole salad more interesting than just eating a piece of peach.

So different combinations of the offered flavors gave different sensations, making eating an adventure of sorts. 
This is the one with nuts instead of the pit.

The very large peach, even divided up between two people, was a lot of food.  I probably could have made it a salad for three or four people.  It was tasty and it was filling.

After we ate the salad, we cut more bread and finished off the wine/jam mixture that was still in the bowl.  Mmmmmm!

So success!  But in all honesty, I would really rather serve this as a dessert.  I image the same layout with the peaches, raisins, and bread.  But I would take the rest of the wine/jam mixture and drizzle a line over the peaches, then sprinkle on a few chopped almonds.  I might even serve a little bit of mild cheese along with it.

If I had to make this in advance, I would save cutting and dipping the bread until just before serving.  I would also briefly dip the peach slices into some white wine to keep them from turning brown. 

I am still not sure why we were advised to serve the slices with the pit or with nuts to look like the pit.  It didn't seem to stand out as a garnish and I couldn't figure out a more interesting way to display the peach slices with the pit.  Perhaps someone will come up with a good idea for it.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Rotkohl mit Ӓpfeln -- Red Cabbage with Apples (Germany)

I was in a Germany mood today and decided to cook up the red cabbage sitting in my refrigerator.  I think it would go well with some grilled bratwurst and quality mustard, don't you?  I turned to my 1969 edition of Recipes:  The Cooking of Germany, published by Time-Life in their "Foods of the World" series.

No ISBN listed

On page 63, I found what I was looking for:

Rotkohl mit Ӓpfeln -- Red Cabbage with Apples

To serve 4 to 6

A 2- to 2 1/2- pound red cabbage
2/3 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons lard or bacon fat
2 medium-sized cooking apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/8-inch thick wedges
1/2 cup finely chopped onions
1 whole onion, peeled and pierced with 2 whole cloves
1 small bay leaf
5 cups boiling water
3 tablespoons dry red wine
3 tablespoons red currant jelly (optional)

I like the color variety.
Wash the head of cabbage under cold running water, remove the tough outer leaves, and cut the cabbage into quarters.  To shred the cabbage, cut out the core and slice the quarters crosswise into 1/8-inch-wide strips.

Drop the cabbage into a large mixing bowl, sprinkle it with the vinegar, sugar, and salt, then toss the shreds about with a spoon to coat them evenly with the mixture.  In a heavy 4- to 5-quart casserole, melt the lard or bacon fat over moderate heat.  Add the apples and chopped onions and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes or until the apples are lightly browned.  Add the cabbage, the whole onion with cloves, and the bay leaf; stir thoroughly and pour in the boiling water.  Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally, and reduce the heat to its lowest possible point.  Cover and simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until the cabbage is tender.  Check from time to time to make sure that the cabbage is moist.  If it seems dry, add a tablespoon of boiling water.  When the cabbage is done, there should be almost no liquid left in the casserole.  Just before serving remove the onion and bay leaf, and stir in the wine and the currant jelly.  Taste for seasoning, then transfer the entire contents of the casserole to a heated platter or bowl and serve.

My Notes

I had everything but the lard/bacon fat, so I used olive oil.  The optional jelly was out, too.

Shredding the cabbage by following their directions worked well.

Cabbage with vinegar, salt, and sugar.  Tossed.
The whole onion was bigger than what I thought would be needed, but it was what I could get.  It seemed to be okay at the end.

Everything in the pot, ready to be simmered.
After two hours of simmering, 30 minutes of that with the lid off, there was still a lot of liquid left in the pan.  So I scooped out the cabbage and reduced the liquid to almost nothing.  This way I think I would still capture the flavors in the liquid without overcooking the cabbage.

After simmering.  Still very wet.
The Verdict

I reduced the liquid to about 1 cup and poured it over the cabbage in a bowl.  It was still too wet, at least according to the recipe's description.  But I didn't want to strain it out, so I added the red wine and proceeded from there.

Strained a bit before placed in this serving bowl
I served it with grilled sausages.  The taste was excellent:  slightly sweet with an acid bite.  I couldn't taste the apples or onions directly but I think it benefited from them being there.  The cabbage was very tender but not falling apart or slimy.  I liked it hot and later, cold.  Each time I served it, I used a slotted spoon to reduce the amount of liquid, and I placed it in individual bowls.

It made a lot and I have had it for several meals.  It was a nice accompaniment with roasted chicken and also roast beef.  What I think I like most is that it is sweet but not cloyingly so.  A good side dish to perk up the meat!


Monday, July 16, 2018

Beef with Harvest Sauce (attempt #2) - A Transylvanian Cookbook

Today, using the roast from yesterday's post, I attempted the Harvest Sauce again.  It is from this book,

The Prince of Transylvania’s court cookbook 

From the 16th century 


You can find a copy of THE THIRD VERSION  here:
(this is an update from yesterday's post).

My first attempt, though tasty, was declared a failure because it never thickened.  You can read about here.

Original recipe (page 3), listed as recipe (2):


 If you want to cook with a harvest sauce, prepare the meat like I told you. Put parsley roots, (parsley) leaves and onions into it. After it’s cooked, add six or seven eggs, according to your needs. After you’re done, put the eggs into vinegar and start whipping it. Then pour the meat’s juices into it. Pour it onto the meat again, but don’t boil it; if you boil it, its size will suffer.

(Footnote on "suffer":  Meaning; It will curdle. Tempering the egg/vinegar and broth mixtures will result in a creamy sauce. Note that this sauce is used several times in the cookbook.)

My second redaction notes:

This time around, I have yellow onion AND I was able to get a small parsnip, which was recommended to use in place of the parsley root.  I expect this to be a more authentic taste, although my sad little parsley plant didn't have enough leaves to provide fresh parsley for this attempt.  I had to make do with dried parsley leaves.

Bits of parsnips
For the sauce

1 tablespoon peeled, finely chopped parsnip
1/4 cup yellow onion, chopped a little less finely than the parsnip
1 tablespoon dried parsley
3 eggs
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/8 cup (or less) of beef juice (see note below)

The parsnip is already peeled
First I sauteed the onion, parsnip, and parsley in a little butter.  I cooked it gently, until the onion was translucent.  The smell was aromatic!  Then I set this mixture aside in a bowl for later use.

Cooked gently so as not to burn the dried leaves
Using the same pan, I put in a little water -- at most a few tablespoons -- and the slices of cold roast beef.  Heating the meat gently in this gave me warm beef and also flavored the water with the juices.  It was this liquid, warmed to steaming, that I called "beef juice."  

Cold roast beef slices getting warmed
While the beef was warming, I put the eggs into a bowl and whisked them vigorously, until the lumps and blobs were gone.  Then I added the white wine vinegar and whisked it thoroughly again.  

After the beef was removed to plates, I poured the beef juice into the egg mixture and whisked it vigorously again to temper the eggs.  Then I poured the whole mixture into the warm pan and began to cook it.  I whisked it the entire time, never letting it stop moving.  I found that I had to bump the heat up to about medium to get the sauce to thicken, but once it started, it thickened quickly!  I turned the heat off and let the sauce finish cooking from the residual heat of the pan.  Then I added the onion/parsnip mixture and stirred it in.

Getting thick!  Keep it moving!
The Verdict

The sauce was thick and creamy!  I spooned it over the beef and served it with a salad of nectarines and sorrel/spinach/lettuce, with a balsamic vinaigrette dressing.  (See the last line, below.)

Really, there is a lot of meat under that mountain of sauce!
The flavor?  Oh, the flavor!  It was excellent!  Hard to describe, really, but I will give it a try.  

No one flavor stood out.  I got hints of earthy tones, a little tingle of tart, a bit of a meaty flavor, and a richness (but not too rich).  It was somewhat like a Bearnaise sauce.  The mouthfeel was perfect because it was thick yet not clingy.  My guest taster said, "You can make this again, anytime!" and I agreed.  It is easy to make and it is very tasty.  It certainly brought out the flavor of the beef while complementing it, too.  An excellent pairing! 

Success!  The quantity was just right, too, as we ate every bit of the sauce. 

Credit where it is due:  Thanks to White on Rice Couple for their peach and sorrel salad recipe.  I used nectarines and a sorrel-and-salad-greens mix.  I loved the dressing!  You can find the recipe here.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Beef with Harvest Sauce (attempt #1) -- A Transylvanian Cookbook

The fun thing about knowing other historical cooks is that they find interesting recipes, teach you new techniques, give you intriguing challenges.  One in particular got me interested in this newly translated book:

The Prince of Transylvania’s court cookbook 

From the 16th century 


You can find a copy of it here:

I talked about it in my post on the 2018 Culinary Symposium -- he (G) told us stories about the book and had a recipe made up for us to taste.

I promised that I would give some of the recipes a try and put them in my blog, so here is my first attempt.

Original recipe (page 3):


If you want to cook with a harvest sauce, prepare the meat like I told you. Put parsley roots, (parsley) leaves and onions into it. After it’s cooked, add six or seven eggs, according to your needs. After you’re done, put the eggs into vinegar and start whipping it. Then pour the meat’s juices into it. Pour it onto the meat again, but don’t boil it; if you boil it, its size will suffer.

(Footnote on "suffer":  Meaning; It will curdle. Tempering the egg/vinegar and broth mixtures will result in a creamy sauce. Note that this sauce is used several times in the cookbook.)

My first redaction notes:

The first issue I had was getting parsley root.  My parsley plant was suffering from the heat and from critter raids, so its roots were really not worth the effort.  It did have enough leaves for me to use.  I checked with G to see what he has used.  He had tried it with parsley root but found there was no taste difference when using small, peeled parsnips.  I couldn't get any parsnips, so I chose to go ahead without either one.

Fresh parsley!
To my shock, the only onion I had was part of a purple onion.  No brown/yellow onion at all in my stash!  So I chose to use that.  I chopped it and sauteed it in butter until tender and a little browned.

Yum!  Onions!
My big conundrum was about the quantities of broth, eggs, and vinegar.  How much?  G had recommended white wine vinegar and the recipe says "six or seven eggs, according to your needs."  My needs were small -- I had a two pound beef roast to cook and I just didn't think I needed a lot of sauce.  I know my sauce was to come out thick, "silky," and creamy but I just wasn't sure.  So I took the attitude of any good redacting cook:  I picked some amounts, tried it, and hoped for the best.

For the roast:  

2 pound beef sirloin tip roast, which I sprinkled with seasoned salt.  I cooked it using the rotisserie burner on my propane grill until it registered an internal temperature of "rare."  It didn't drip much into the pan below but it did release juices when I sliced it.  I used the water in the drip pan as well as the juices in the sauce. After I saw how little juice there was, I decided to add some bouillon, too.

Getting ready to roast

Roasted to rare!

For the sauce:

1/3 cup chopped purple onion, sauteed in butter
1 1/2 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
3 eggs
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1/2 cup water + juice from roasting and slicing the beef
1 small spoonful of beef bouillon into the heated water + juice mixture

And the beef bouillon
To make the sauce:

The eggs were put into a bowl and whisked vigorously until I couldn't see any blobs of whites or yolk.  I wanted it to be as smooth as I could make it.  Then I put in the vinegar and whisked it some more until it was bubbly and smooth.

No lumps!  No blobs!
In the meantime, I heated the water and bouillon mixture in the same pan I cooked the onions in.  Then, to temper the egg mixture, I put several spoonfuls of the beef broth into it and whisked vigorously.  I poured that into the pan and whisked vigorously, while the whole mixture was over very low heat.

After it looked a little thicker, I added the parsley and onion.  It simmered for several minutes.  I noticed that if I stopped stirring it, it started to curdle -- that is, it looked like the eggs were getting scrambled!  But if I whisked it, the bits broke up and the sauce was reasonably smooth again.

Pretty colors!
Once I was convinced it wasn't going to get any thicker, I took it off the heat and put it into a serving container.

The Verdict

At the table, I spooned the sauce over the meat and tasted it.  The sauce was obviously too thin but the flavor was good!  A little salty, a little meaty, the parsley was a pleasant herbal undertaste, and the onion added a little zing.  I like it!  It paired well with the beef and we were all pleased to have it on our plates.  It was pretty, too:  the cream-colored sauce with flecks of green and chunks of purple contrasted nicely with the rare roasted beef.

Very rare and visually attractive
For my second attempt, I think I will use just a little beef flavoring (juices or broth) instead of the 1/2 cup of liquid I used this time.  I would like to taste more of the white wine vinegar, too, just like I tend to add a little extra lemon juice whenever I make hollandaise sauce.  I know, too, to keep the sauce moving when it is over the heat.

The first redaction made about 1 cup of sauce.  I think about half that quantity would have been right.

I have to classify this as a failure since my sauce did not turn out the way it was described to me.  But I will try it again and attempt to do better.  See tomorrow's post for Attempt #2.


I took the leftover sauce from this attempt and cooked it again, over a higher heat.  I stirred it continuously.  It thickened!  The flavor wasn't as exciting but it was still good.  Here is the result:

Thick enough to pile up